School book fairs are a mixed blessing. As a writer and an educator, it’s the epitome of both worlds. On the one hand, kids get fired up about reading. The downside is that the fair always causes major disruption to the daily routines.
Here’s an example. One student reported that she had bought a highlighter pen that went missing. Her neighbor had one (suddenly) that looked just like it. She advised that it had been purchased the day before.
One student whom we’ll call Jerry told me confidentially that the neighbor had truly stolen the missing item. But I didn’t see it being taken and I had no choice but to send the injured party to the book fair with the money to buy another. The only other option was to have expressed my sympathy that her pen was gone. Maybe I should consider a fingerprint kit to identify classroom criminals.
Jerry was a student whom the classroom teacher identified as an ongoing problem. Somehow, he never became one for me. During one of our conversations, he confided that he also wanted a highlighter pen but didn’t have the funds to make one materialize.
You probably know the end of the story. A blue highlighter pen magically appeared in Jerry’s desk. Though he never indicated he knew how it got there, I’m pretty confident that he did. But I’ll never disclose that. Not surprisingly, he was polite and compliant for the rest of the day.
Shortly thereafter, I was doing my playground supervision when a little, sad-faced girl approached and asked if I had a quarter. When I asked why, she reported that she was hungry. Was I really going to let a child go hungry?
Maybe I’m a sucker for sad faces or just kids. Maybe I simply believe that I taught three children the true lessons of education. Shalom.
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